OWU Mock Convention takes on the issue of student debt

Photo courtesy of Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Every four years, the Ohio Wesleyan Mock Convention takes place in Gray Chapel and students learn and experience the political party nomination process for the upcoming presidential election.

This year’s Mock Convention will take place on both Feb. 5 and 6. Leading up to this event, several platform hearings are held in preparation for the two­-day event.

The third platform hearing was held on Dec. 1 and President Rock Jones, professor of economics Alice Simon and OWU alumnus Ben Andrews gave their views on the politics of student debt.

Simon began the hearing by discussing the benefits of achieving a bachelor’s degree and how having a bachelor’s degree is described as a need.

Simon explained that economists define necessities as good or service that when the price goes up, the demand for that need stays the same. “In 1990, 59.9 percent of high school graduates attended some sort of college education institution.”

This percentage has only increased since 1990 and the cost of a college education has also increased, which suggests that a college education is a need rather than a want.

Simon teaches classes covering the areas on economic principles, monetary and fiscal policy, consumer economics and labor economics.

Photo courtesy of the OWU website.
Photo courtesy of the OWU website.

Simon explained that someone with a bachelor degree, on average will make 1.3 million dollars more than someone without a bachelor’s degree over a lifetime.

Andrews spoke on how student debt affects different groups of people in different ways.

Andrews said, “According to recent studies, 66 percent of OWU students graduate within six years of college, which is higher than the national average of 50 percent.”

The typical total debt the average OWU student encounters after graduating is 27,000 dollars, with average monthly loan payments of 300 dollars.

Jones went on to explain the stigma attached to private school and the higher cost of private colleges over public institutions.

Jones said, “By examining the list price of public versus private, private is higher. However, students attending private schools don’t borrow much more than those attending public schools.”

Jones explained that the average student who has attended a public college will encounter 25,000 dollars of debt whereas private will encounter 29,000 dollars. Although the sticker price for a private intuition might be more, the average student does not pay that amount due to financial aid and scholarships provided through the school’s endowment.

Jones said, “People with college degrees contribute greatly to society and have far less need for public assistance. Society should help bear the cost of college education to benefit the entire society as a whole.”

The list price for colleges might have increased, Jones reasoned, but the actual price has declined due to scholarship and federal funding.

“People suggest sending more students to community college or making community college free,” said Jones. “This would be a risk and possible loss of educated citizen from educational establishments such as Ohio Wesleyan.”

Jones said, “Nobody is arguing that you shouldn’t borrow money to buy a house. Nobody is arguing that you shouldn’t borrow money to buy a car. With massive amounts of credit card debt, people aren’t arguing that you shouldn’t borrow money to buy holiday present, but they are arguing that you shouldn’t borrow money to get a college education. A modest student loan is the ticket to achieving much more in life.”

According to the OWU Mock Convention’s literature, this year’s Mock Convention will be Republican “to ensure there is a lively debate and competition among a number of candidates.”

The organization traditionally represents the party currently not in office.


The war on Christmas or just marketing?

cupsBefore reading further, I might suggest you put down your red Starbucks cups and take a seat because things are about to get real.

Every year, people eagerly await the unveiling of the infamous “Christmas” cup. The Christmas cup that usually is red and covered in snowflakes, snowmen and everything winter, not so much Christmas.

The recent unveiling of the Starbucks coffee cup has enraged many of the company’s coffee addicts, but could this be just a genius marketing stunt concocted by the worldwide caffeine providers?

By Starbucks providing a cup that completely abandons the idea of “Christmas” and “Holiday,” by not printing any graphic of the cups, they were attempting to represent the point of being “politically correct.” This enraged many and bloggers continuously shared their opinions over all forms of social media, whether in support or not.

Regardless of whether or not people believe that Starbucks was contributing to the “War on Christmas,” Starbucks did something only some can find as brilliant. With little to no further advertisement, the company received an incredible amount of publicity.

By producing a plain red cup, the awareness for company and the issue they are supporting has increased and so have the sales throughout the holiday season.

Much like Coca Cola’s sly advertisement campaign of putting names on the bottles and cans, Starbucks captured the same concept. Whether people support the campaign or not.

OWU chamber orchestra continues to impress

On Nov. 10, the Chamber Orchestra performed their fall concert in Gray Chapel. The group was conducted by Michael Malone.

Malone has been the conductor for the Chamber Orchestra since 2010.

Malone explained that a chamber orchestra is a smaller version of a full orchestra. OWU’s consists of six first violins, four second violins, three violas, three cellos, two basses, one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns and timpani.

According to his website, Malone “holds the PhD in historical musicology from The University of Texas at Austin,” and has taught courses in conducting, orchestration, music history and history of jazz.

The orchestra rehearses once a week as a group, however, the string section has a weekly sectional at which they practice separately.

Malone said, “It is my job to make sure that we are playing together as a group. I help them understand how their parts fit in with what else is happening in the music around them so that their individual parts make sense within the whole piece.”

Senior ZoAnn Schutte was appointed department concerto competition and therefore aided the process of selecting pieces for the performance.

“The most substantial piece on the program is Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, which is one of those pieces I have known and loved for a long time, so it is a great pleasure to have a chance to conduct it for the first time,” said Malone. “I always try to choose a big piece that will stretch the capabilities of the orchestra. This is a big, difficult piece, and so the students have had to work hard to learn it, but they have done an amazing job.”

Every year, the orchestra has a Concertmaster who is always a violinist.

Junior Chris Brinich is the current Concertmaster of the chamber orchestra. Brinich said that as Concertmaster he needs to “to be able to lead their section, as well as the whole orchestra in some instances. The concertmaster is generally the one who is most expected to know their part in the violin section. It also includes organizing separate string sectional rehearsals for the orchestra.”

Brinich has been involved in the Chamber Orchestra since his freshman year and has held other positions such as Principal Violinist.

Religion and classics expert visits OWU

Professor Heidi Wendt. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.
Professor Heidi Wendt. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.

A triple threat comes to Ohio Wesleyan: religion, philosophy and classics professor Heidi Wendt spoke to students Nov. 2 about religion in the Roman Empire.

Wendt, from Wright State University, delivered her lecture, “Judaism and Christianity as Religion in the Roman Empire: The Case of the Apostle Paul,” to a packed room in Slocum Hall.

She received an A.B. in religious studies from Brown University. She returned to Brown to complete a PhD in religious studies and an A.M. in classics.

Senior Ashley Vassar, a classics major, was glad to hear an interdisciplinary perspective.

“This talk was one that married a religious topic with a classical one,” Vassar said. “This means that students from both the classics and the religion department were able to learn more about their particular areas of interest. The topic was also particularly fascinating because Christianity is so widespread.”

Wendt’s visit was made possible by classics professor Lee Fratantuono. Fratantuono said having a speaker like Wendt “exposes students to other areas of specialties within classics. In the classics department, we have a small number of faculty and a large number of students and the speakers help mitigate the number of faculty.”

Every year, the classics department has a speaker series, which brings four to six speakers to campus. When selecting speakers, the department aims to choose people whose studies connect to the material discussed in class.

Wendt researched topics focused on the Roman Empire and the activities of freelance religious experts and their significance for the emergence of Christianity. She has worked throughout Turkey, Greece and Italy.

Throughout her presentation, Wendt discussed the evolution of both Christianity and Judaism.

She also pulled passages from the bible to support her research.

Senior Rachael Nicholas, another classics major, said that she learned a lot from Wendt.

“I gained a fuller knowledge of early Christianity in Rome,” Nicholas said. “Before this point, I knew very little of that particular subject. Now I understand how early Jews and Christians interacted with the Roman Empire.”

Wendt is in the process of completing a book titled “The Religion of Freelance Experts in the Early Roman Empire.” According to Wendt’s web page, the book “examines evidence from the imperial period for self­authorized religious experts, including Judean and Christian actors.”

Career Services brings employers to campus

Every spring and fall semester, the Career Services hosts a career fair for students of all class years with the hopes of helping them grow their connections and find an internship or even full-time job.

About 56 employers attended this year’s career fair, which took place on Oct. 23 in the Benes Rooms. Also attending the event were about 31 graduate schools.

Leslie Melton, director of Career Services, said they gather attendees through “a database of employers and the companies they work for which post internship and full time positions as well as graduate school admissions.”

Melton said that in addition to using their database to get employers to attend, Career Services representatives go to networking events and attend other schools career fairs looking for employers that have not yet attended the fair.

Melton went on to say that “about four or five Ohio Wesleyan alumni were in attendance of the career fair. Usually if the alum cannot attend, they send another representative from their company to attend in their place.”

Melton said the benefit of having an OWU alum attend the event is having a sense of familiarity and likeness on campus. Also, being able to set up meetings on campus with the appropriate people who can help them recruit the necessary students.

Melton said “the ultimate goal of the career fair is to get familiar with the world of work, gain experience with presenting yourself and possibly growing your connections and find a job.”

Career Services encourages all students to attend the fair including freshman: “some freshman have been offered internships and all freshman who attend will gain valuable experience.”

Senior Jerry Lherisson said “I have attended a career fair every year since freshman year. I mainly go just to see the opportunities that are out there. It’s a generally good way to network and learn about the breadth and depth of different paths that are possible after graduating Ohio Wesleyan.”

Lherission believes, “at the very least, the career fair exposes students to an aggregate of learning opportunities that they normally wouldn’t have a chance to see in one place.”

According to Melton, of the students that come to the fair looking for full time jobs, every year there are students offered jobs from connections made at the fair.

“Last year, Cincinnati’s Children’s Research Hospital hired about 6 people from Ohio Wesleyan,” Melton said.

The Career Services marketing intern, senior Jimmy Sanzone, said “I was excited to go and talk with a bunch of different employers, even some that I wasn’t originally considering. It’s a great way to network which has become such a vital part of getting a job after graduating.”

Sanzone said about 300 students were in attendance at the fair.

Career Services will also be holding an internship and summer job fair during the spring semester. Graduate schools will not be in attendance, however everyone is encouraged to attend because full­-time job employers can still appear.

On Jan. 29, the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges will be holding a career fair in Columbus. Career Services will be offering transportation to this event.

Another upcoming opportunity is the Teach Ohio fair for teaching positions in April. This fair includes an interview portion and students can be offered positions on the spot at.

Melton said “the good thing about career fairs is that you get to put yourself in front of an employer and talk in person. Where as when you apply to a job, you can feel like you’re dumping your resume into a pool as applications that may never get looked at.

In the future, Career Services is considering holding a two­-day fair because of the increasing size of the people attending the fair and the limited space on campus.

Kanye 2020

Donald Trump announced he was running for president three months ago, and has been in the news ever since. Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com.
Donald Trump announced he was running for president three months ago, and has been in the news ever since. Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com.

As the 2016 presidential election approaches, political debates are beginning to heat up. This is expected.

Something that was not expected was one of the wealthiest real estate moguls in the country entering the race. That’s right, I’m talking about Donald Trump.

Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 election on July 16. Many people believed that his campaign would not last long and that his abrasive personality would force him to drop out. However, it has been three months and not only is Trump leading air-time, but he is also leading the Republican polls by about 11 percent.

Trump has no doubt encountered some bumps in the road. For example, his feud with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly during the first Republican presidential debate. Yet he has only gained more publicity from events like this and it has made him stronger in his campaign.

Regardless of the political party you affiliate yourself with, there is one thing Donald Trump has done in the media. With all the different things going on in the world, many people, mainly millennials, can find themselves bored with politics. Donald Trump has grabbed the attention of many of those who typically turn their heads away from politics.  

He’s not the only one that has done this recently. During MTV’s  2015 Video Music Awards on Aug. 30, celebrity rapper Kanye West accepted a Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. During his acceptance speech, he announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race.

According to recent studies, the majority of people who vote in presidential elections are above the age of 45. Whether West’s announcement is legitimate or not, he too has turned the heads of the demographic of people that follow politics the least. I say legitimate because West has been said to have decided to run seconds before he made the announcement and implied that he was high at the show.

November 2016 is a long ways away. If the 2016 election hasn’t already caught your attention, there is a good chance that it eventually will.  

“Orange is the New Black” creator coming to OWU

Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman. Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post website.
Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman. Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post website.

Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black,” is set to speak about her new book and her campaigns for prison and criminal justice reform in Ohio Wesleyan’s Gray Chapel on Jan. 20.

“Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison,” published in 2010, is a memoir chronicling Kerman’s time spent in Federal prison.

According to Kerman’s website, she spent “13 months in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut,” due to “a brief dalliance with drug trafficking while she was in her early twenties.”

Kerman’s memoir was created into an award-­winning Netflix series in 2013. The fourth season is under production.

The talk is being sponsored by the Delaware County District Library (DCDL). DCDL is “a non-profit, all-­volunteer group that supports the mission, services and needs of the Delaware library system,” said Amy Chapman, a library employee.

Chapman also said, “Piper Kerman is currently living in Central Ohio and gave a well-­received talk at Westerville Library, so we contacted her about her speaking rates and availability.”

Piper will speak for approximately 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute Q&A. Starting Oct. 1, tickets can be purchased for students and staff at www.piperkerman­authorvisit.eventbrite.com.

A limited amount of discount tickets will be available before the tickets become available for the public.

“When prompted to enter a promotional code, enter ‘OWU’ to access these tickets,” said Chapman. “The discounted student tickets are $20. The faculty and staff tickets are $25. As of Nov. 1, tickets will go on sale to the public at www.eventbrite.com.”

“Fundamentals Bookstore [next to Bun’s Restaurant] will have the book ‘Orange is the New Black’ on sale the evening of the event,” said Chapman.

Books purchased at Fundamentals will be the only books that can be signed at the event with proof of purchase.

Professor attends international conference

Dr. Christopher Fink. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.
Professor Christopher Fink. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.

Assistant professor and chair of health and human kinetics Christopher Fink was selected as a US delegate to travel to Italy for a food and health conference taking place Oct. 3-­6.

According to the We Feed the Planet website, “the four­-day program, based on the model of the Slow Food Youth Network Food Academy, will allow the group to connect, be inspired, create solutions and finally share their ideas about feeding the planet in the future on a world stage at Expo.”

The We Feed the Planet conference includes young food producers and activists from around the world. The event was organized by Slow Food and Slow Food Youth Network.

Fink said, “Slow Food is an international organization with over 100,000 members that advocates for food that is good, healthy, delicious, clean, sustainable and pays a fair wage.”

“I feel that I will gain even more insight into the issues I’ve discussed here, that I can embed in the numerous food-­related activities that I do in classes and other programs that directly involve our students,” said Fink. “I also hope to be able to forge new connections that may allow our students to have access to new experiences in internships, study­ abroad programs, and more.”

Fink’s focus of study and experience in the food and health field spans from teaching classes to holding events of his own regarding the issue. He directed the 2012 Sagan National Colloquium series which, according to event documentation, “focused on the mutually transformative relationship between people and food.” He is also active in the Association for the Study of Food and Society.

Sophomore human and health kinetics major Hallie Sinko said, “Diet is a huge part of having healthy lifestyle so I think it’s really good to benefit OWU by having one of our facility with a more universally rounded view on food and health that can then pass onto students which they will be able to use daily in their future careers and lives.”

The conference took place in Milan, Italy, “in conjunction with Milan Expo 2015, which is the international exposition that was historically known as the World’s Fair,” said Fink. Milan is also where Slow Food was founded.

There were about 500 delegates from all over the world in attendance.

“This cause is important to me because I believe that our food system needs these kinds of gatherings and discussions to improve some of the problems we face with feeding an ever-expanding population in a way that supports environmental sustainability and ethical food production,” said Fink.

Career workshop aims to help students find future careers

Career Services department is now offering a series of workshops to students which include narrowing down a career path to helping freshmen begin to think about post­grad employment.

These workshops were set to take place Sept. 9, Sept. 16 and Sept. 24. The final workshop takes place Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Assistant director of the department of career services Nancy Westfield said, “While the actual program, First Year to Career, is new, the information detailed in the workshop combines the years of experience we have in working with freshmen to help them begin their career journey.”

Westfield said, “Research has demonstrated that students engaged in the career development process earlier in their collegiate careers are better prepared for employment opportunities upon graduation.”

Both Westfield and career services director Leslie Melton worked to bring the workshop to campus.

“We realized the need for students to engage in the career planning process earlier in their academic careers. Aligning with recent data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and institutional assessment, we have worked with the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising to provide first year students with a targeted program to provide them with the necessary tools and resources to be successful in their future careers,” said Melton.

Following the workshop, Westfield encourages students to meet with one of the coaches individually in the career services department.

Westfield said, “The actual process of making career decisions varies with each student, but our goal is to inform first year students of the important aspects of self-­assessment, career research and experience in beginning to focus on their career goals.”

Senior Macie Maisel said, “I have attended some of the career services department’s events and have found them helpful and insightful.”

Westfield said they “also seek to introduce students to potential career options.”

The program being sponsored by the Office of Career Services and the assistant dean of academic advising.

Rojas receives digital scholarship grant

Dr. Rojas. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.
Dr. Rojas. Photo courtesy of the OWU website.

Chair of the modern foreign language department Juan Rojas has received the opportunity to create a digital map of a Hispanic American literary and urban art anthology.

Rojas said this “will form an essential part of the curriculum in two of my Latin American novel courses: Spanish 360: Twentieth and Twenty­First Centuries Mexican Literature and Popular Cultures, and SPAN 364: The Latin American Novel Within Its Revolutions, Cultures and Social Changes.”

“On Aug. 11, 2015, I received an email from Catherine Cardwell, OWU Director of Libraries, where she informed me that my proposal, ‘Digital Map of the Poetics of Hispanic American Literature: An Interactive and Hermeneutical Exegesis,’ had been approved for a Mellon Digital Scholarship Grant,” said Rojas.

The Mellon Digital Scholarship Grant is part of the Ohio 5’s Digital Scholarship Initiative and is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Senior Miranda Dean said she is “one of two student research assistants working with Dr. Rojas and David Soliday from the IT department. As research assistants, we act as mediums between Dr. Rojas and the other students in our class.”

Dean said the project for her will last until the end of the semester. However, it will still be used throughout the classes taught by Rojas.

Dean said, “I hope that the completed project will encourage a broader and more nuanced understanding of the culture of Juárez.”

Director of Libraries Cathi Cardwell, is the lead contact for the overall Mellon grant and grant administrator for OWU.

Cardwell said, “Dr. Rojas’s grant is intended to have an impact on the two courses he hopes to integrate the project into. The overall Mellon project is designed to advance digital scholarship on campus.”

According to Rojas, “The creation of a digital cartography will provide OWU students with opportunities to augment their knowledge from languages, literatures, the arts and global cultural studies by exploring a variety of digital skillsets.”

For future reference of the study go to http://www.ciudadjuarezartandpoetry.org.